Conamara broadcaster to retire this week after 31 years at RnaG

galway daily news rte raidio na gaeltachta Máirtín Tom Sheáinín
Máirtín Tom Sheáinín Nollaig 2006

Much-loved RTÉ Raidió na Gaeltachta broadcaster Máirtín Tom Sheáinín will retire from the station this week after 31 years of service.

Máirtín will present his final Ardtráthnóna programme tomorrow at 2.00pm and he will be guest of honour on Iris Aniar on Friday in a special programme celebrating his broadcasting life.

From Leitir Caladh, Leitir Móir in Connemara, Máirtín started working with RTÉ Raidió na Gaeltachta officially on 11 December 1989.

He presented the request programme Togha agus Rogha that day, and has been at the helm of the programme ever since.

He had gotten his first taste of radio work a few months earlier when he was asked by Meaití Jó Shéamuis to entice a few of the local sean-nós singers to take part in the series Casadh an tSúgáin.

He obliged, and enjoyed it. Máirtín Ó Tuathail from Baile na Cille was the first person he interviewed for the radio, and he intends to play some archive material from Máirtín on his final programme on Wednesday.

RTÉ Raidió na Gaeltachta broadcaster Máirtín Tom Sheáinín Mac Donncha (1996)

In the years since, Máirtín has presented many programmes on RTÉ Raidió na Gaeltachta, although he is particularly associated with Togha agus Rogha, Ardtráthnóna and the annual Corn Uí Riada broadcast from the Oireachtas festival.

He presented Siamsán Maidine, Ó Bhinn go Binn, Iris Aniar, Rásaí na Gaillimhe, Maidin Shamhraidh, and a series called Saol agus Saothar where he spoke to people in different trades and crafts.

He was also the western reporter for Barrscéalta for a time and presented his afternoon chat show Ardtráthnóna for the first time on 7 September 1998.

Máirtín is a talented sean-nós singer, and won Corn Uí Riada, the All-Ireland of sean-nós, in 1983 and 1988.

He’s also a TV presenter, and has been bringing us the programme Comhrá on TG4 since 2003, with almost 500 programmes broadcast to date.

Máirtín Tom Sheáinín is held in great affection by listeners in the Gaeltachtaí and Irish-speaking communities right across the country.

He is renowned for his ability to put even the most reluctant interviewees at ease, and to elicit wonderful conversation and stories from them. His evident empathy and understanding for his guests, and his sense of humour, have endeared him to the public, and he will be sadly missed by his many loyal listeners.

The special edition of Iris Aniar will air on Friday at 9.15 am to celebrate his broadcasting career.